NWPSC April 2018 Newsletter

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April 2018

Product Stewardship Programs in Oregon & Washington

First in the nation drug take back law
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are required to fund and run a secure medicine return system in Washington, thanks to a first in the nation statewide drug take back law passed March 22. The law is similar to the Secure Medicine Return / MED-Project stewardship programs, funded by manufacturers and mandated by local health ordinances, currently operating in King and Snohomish counties, and coming soon to Clallam, Kitsap, Pierce, Skagit, and Whatcom counties. According to Zero Waste Washington's policy fact sheet (PDF), "Manufacturers must provide local programs under these ordinances until one year after the statewide program is launched. Otherwise local laws regulating drug take-back programs are preempted under the statewide law."

Time to plan for solar panel recycling
An article in Solar Power World covers the state of solar recycling:

"Solar panel disposal and recycling isn’t a huge issue right now in 2018 because there isn’t a big enough volume to cause concern. Solar panels are warrantied to perform more than 25 years, and once the warranty expires, panels will still produce energy, albeit not at their advertised peak. Solar installations in the United States didn’t really take off until 2010. Any influx of panels needing replaced today happens after freak weather events or other accidents.
But where are those damaged panels going now? With no dedicated national program or requirement to safely dispose of solar panels, some unfortunately find their way to landfills. If the system owner is green-minded and has the money, panels may get shipped to a recycling facility. Other industry players are warehousing damaged or old panels until a practical recycling program is established...
There’s nothing yet mandated at a national level, but there are a few states trying to get the required recycling ball moving. In July 2017, Washington became the first state to pass a solar stewardship bill (ESSB 5939), requiring manufacturers selling solar products into the state to have end-of-life recycling programs for their own products. Manufacturers that do not provide a recycling program or outline will not be able to sell solar modules into the state after Jan. 1, 2021. Regional takeback locations will be set up to accept solar panels at no cost to the system owner, and the state may charge manufacturers for the program. Final plans are still being decided."

Read more on ESSB 5939 and the Washington Dept. of Ecology's implementation.

E-Cycle Washington begins 10th year
As the electronics stewardship program begins its 10th year, E-Cycle Washington has recycled 369 million pounds of computers, monitors, and TVs. Electronics manufacturers include the cost of recycling their products in the cost of doing business, in one of the most successful product stewardship programs in the country. Washington residents can recycle TVs, computers, monitors, tablets, e-readers, and portable DVD players at no cost – find a location near you. Computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and printers are not included in the E-Cycle Washington program.

LightRecycle Washington reaches 110% of 2017 goal
In 2017, LightRecycle Washington recycled 1,317,790 million mercury-containing lights, weighing almost 615,000 pounds, 110% of the annual collection target. LightRecycle, a manufacturer operated product stewardship program run by nonprofit PCA Product Stewardship Inc. and overseen by the Washington Department of Ecology, allows individuals and businesses to recycle up to 10 mercury-containing lights per day at sites throughout Washington – find a location near you.

Oregon's producer operated container deposit system costs less than any other in North America
In The Register-Guard, Jules Bailey of the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative describes how taxpayers reap the value of Oregon’s bottle and can redemption system.

"Oregon’s deposit and redemption system for bottles and cans, also known as the Bottle Bill, is the most cost-effective system of its kind in the United States. It is nationally recognized for providing an outstanding service at no cost to taxpayers...
Harnessing the power of the private sector is the secret sauce that makes Oregon’s system a national model. State-operated systems, like California’s, can require taxpayers to subsidize the state agencies that manage both customer deposits and complex networks of bottle and can collectors, haulers and processors. Unredeemed deposits can be reclaimed by the state, but they may not offset the real cost of operating the system.
In fact, unredeemed deposits don’t cover the whole cost of the system in Oregon either. But in Oregon, the beverage industry, not the taxpayers, pays the difference. Unlike in other states, there is no risk in Oregon that paying for the bottle and can return system could mean less money for schools and other services...
Oregon’s program captures the best concepts of extended producer responsibility. It mandates that industry use its strengths — innovation and efficiency — to meet transparency requirements and redemption rates set by the public’s representatives in the Legislature. It’s a system accountable to the public, but not owned by it.
That system works. The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative has kept the cost of Oregon’s bottle and can redemption program down by operating a statewide network of collection centers, trucks and processing plants. OBRC runs all of this at a cost of less than 2 cents per container — less than any other deposit system in North America. And the beverage industry continues to improve operations..."


Bye Bye Mattress: 3 million recycled
Bye Bye Mattress, the stewardship program run by the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) in Connecticut, California, and Rhode Island, has recycled 3 million mattresses - over 46 million pounds of steel. The Record (Stockton, CA) has a thorough article, with video and photos, on mattress recycler DR3, jobs, and the MRC California program. In states without mattress product stewardship laws, most unwanted mattresses are landfilled.

PaintCare California recycles 12 million gallons
Since inception in 2012, PaintCare California has recycled 12 million gallons of paint. With 803 collection locations, 98% of Californians have a drop-off site within 15 miles of their home, and PaintCare is now collaborating with the Mattress Recycling Council to host cooperative recycling events.

Your lifestyle is making recycling unsustainable
A March 27 CBC News article ties together changing lifestyles, the evolving ton, curbside [blue box] recycling, China policies, and producer responsibility that applies equally to the U.S. and Canada:

"It's really a perfect storm of crazy stuff going on that means that the blue box has huge challenges that it did not have 10 years ago," says Maria Kelleher, principal of Toronto-based Kelleher Environmental... The problem is that we're now throwing out a huge variety of new types of packaging — mostly plastics, sometimes glued to other materials like metals — that recycling programs were never meant to deal with. Meanwhile, the materials that they were designed to collect, sort and resell make up a shrinking proportion of what comes in...
One solution is what's known as extended producer responsibility, where the manufacturers that produce the packaging are also responsible for recycling it. Producers share the cost of recycling with municipalities in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, P.E.I. and Quebec.
In B.C., the first province where producers are fully responsible for recycling costs, they're also responsible for every other aspect of recycling, from collection to processing to finding markets for the recycled materials, through an organization called Recycle BC.
Allen Langdon, Recycle BC's managing director, says managing the entire province's recycling on a system-wide basis — instead of via individual municipalities — and working directly with packaging producers is the only practical way to deal with the speed at which packaging and the markets for recyclables are changing.
"The current system of managing recycling is not working," Langdon says, "and anyone that thinks it's going to continue to work that way is not keeping up with where the trends are going."

Recycle BC's Langdon will be the keynote speaker at the May 2018 Washington State Recycling Association conference.

Toronto recycling facing challenges awaiting EPR
The City of Toronto's recycling system is on the ropes due to three factors: contamination, China's import ban, and the "delay in the Ontario government and local partners developing and implementing a system whereby producers of waste are responsible for its sustainable disposal. That theoretically eliminates the need for cities to have, or at least fund, blue-bin [curbside] systems." The local solid waste manager "doesn’t expect to see a plan for the province’s “full responsibility model” for at least one year and predicts it could take another five to 10 years to fully implement."

Recycle BC plan update seeks feedback
Recycle BC, the stewardship organization responsible for operating British Columbia's manufacturer funded packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) program, is seeking public feedback on its new five year plan until May 14. The draft revised plan changes the original name from "packaging and printed paper" to "packaging and paper product" amongst other updates and improvements.

One day latex paint recycling event in King County
Over six hours on a rainy Saturday in April, 275 residents of Kirkland, WA paid to have 25,000 pounds of latex paint recycled as part of a new service from GreenSheen. As an interim step, until such time as the Washington legislature passes a statewide paint product stewardship law, King County initiated a for-fee latex paint recycling service partnership with GreenSheen and local stores via the Take it Back Network. GreenSheen recently opened a latex paint recycling facility in Kent, and, in addition to those in King County, has partner locations in Bellingham, Longview, Olympia, Anacortes, and Friday Harbor.

Plastic packaging failing to prevent food waste
According to a new study by Friends of the Earth Europe and Zero Waste Europe, on behalf of the Rethink Plastic alliance, a "rise in plastic food packaging is failing to reduce Europe’s growing food waste problem, and in some cases may even be fueling it.... annual per-capita use of plastic packaging has grown simultaneously with levels of food waste since the 1950s... The environmental impacts of plastics can be systematically underestimated when making policies which impact food packaging."

Niaga redesigning carpet and mattresses
"All products redesigned by Niaga® are fully recyclable back into the same product" according to Dutch company DSM-Niaga® (again written backwards). "Auping is the first non-carpet company that will use the Niaga® technology to develop fully recyclable mattresses. The collaboration between DSM-Niaga and Auping will give complementary insights to this redesign challenge."

Upcoming Events

  • Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA) annual conference: May 20-23
  • Best Practices in Used Motor Oil Stewardship (webinar): May 25, 8am Pacific
  • Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) annual conference: May 30 - June 1
  • Best Practices for Drug Take-Back Programs (webinar): June 7, 8am Pacific
  • Exploring TreadWright and Tire Sustainability (webinar): June 12, 10am Pacific
  • Sustainable Oregon, Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR) annual conference: June 13-15
  • California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) annual conference: July 26-29

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Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC)The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) is a coalition of government agencies in Washington and Oregon working on solid waste, recycling, resource conservation, environmental protection, public health and other issues. Together with non-government agencies, businesses and individuals, we form a network that supports product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies and programs. For more information, contact info@productstewardship.net or visit us at www.ProductStewardship.net.

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